The 25x ROI Potential of Email Newsletters

The massive shift competitors are already using beat you

I. We’ve Changed to an Email-First World

Email is the oldest social network on the internet. A private, one-on-one message between colleagues, friends, and even strangers. It was texting, before texting.

The total number of worldwide email users is 3.7 billion people as of 2017 [Radicati Group]. The human population is 7.5 billion, which represents half of our entire species. No other technology aside from electricity has that level of penetration.

Radicati Group

Employees spend 13 working hours every week in their email inbox [McKinsey & Company]. That’s a quarter of your time spent doing nothing but reading and writing email. That’s not a lot of tangible work getting done.

270 billion emails get sent every day. That’s 36 emails sent, per day, for every man, woman, and child on the planet. No wonder we spend so much time on this.

Radacati Group

But over the years, email has transformed into something different than how it began. What used to be trusted communication between individuals has changed into a lot of noise.

Spammers got ahold of it. Companies looking to reach new customers got ahold of it. Businesses got ahold of it. And now, we send friend’s phone inboxes have red badges with 50,000 unread emails sitting right smack in the middle of their home screen.

II. The Winners & Losers

You can’t get around the fact that we are all inundated by emails. That’s a problem. But we also need it to communicate with other people. So we’re in a bit of a bind.

Over the last decade, Facebook grew to massive proportions, Twitter helped enable not just the 24-hour news cycle, but also a 60-second news cycle. And here we are, bombarded constantly by commercials, digital ads, and a seeming never-ending push towards more noise.

To put this into perspective, 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed [Forrester Research]. So it’s no wonder marketers have used email as a sales tactic.

It’s also no surprise that median email open rates are only about 20%, regardless of industry:

Smart Insights email stats

We are simultaneously getting more email than ever, but paying attention to them less and less. Trust and interest is the only thing that matters in email land.

What are we to do?

III. The Promise of Email Newsletters

There is a way to reach these billions of people consistently without spending years to do it.

It’s one of the reasons email newsletters are having a renaissance. It’s an authentic voice in a private one-on-one conversation that just so happens to go out to millions of other people as well.

Organizations like The Skimm, the New York Times, The Information, Hustle are all doing it. And it seems every marketing strategy now includes an email newsletter program. Whether daily, weekly or otherwise across a wide variety of topics.

The reason? Email isn’t your Facebook news feed. It’s your life news feed. Work, friends, family, to dos, social media mentions, etc., etc., etc.

Only 10% of people have said they want to get updates from a company through Facebook, while 90% prefer email newsletters [Nielsen Norman Group].
Sorry, Facebook. Email FTW.

And therein lies another problem for marketers. It takes a long time to build a large list of people who are interested in your content. And it means it takes you away from your day to day business of selling your core product or service.

IV. Secret Tactics To Solving This Problem

Here’s a fun stat. 68% of Americans say they base their decision to open an email on the ‘From’ name [Campaign Monitor]. So if it says Company XYZ instead of Passion/Person I Care About XYZ, people are just going to swipe-to-delete.

Which means you need to insert your brand, your product, your service, your organizational Call To Action into a place where people are already spending their time, and placing their trust.

An email newsletter serves this purpose. But there are a few other important considerations to think about when deciding your email newsletter strategy:

  • Real humans, not fake. Your email newsletter needs to reach as many real people as possible and not fake email accounts.
  • Group of passionate people. You need a community around that newsletter where people can contribute and share their own thoughts so they have a sense of ownership in it.
  • Live on, after it’s gone. You need a place for each of these newsletters to live on the web instead of just getting deleted from a person’s private inbox. This helps with SEO and attracting new people to your brand.
  • Distribute via other channels. You can repurpose newsletter content for social channels, blogs, snippets, and yes even videos and podcasts. It’s an asset. Get the full value of it.
  • Cost. Sending emails gets expensive. Mailchimp charges over $4,000 per month to send 1 million emails. That doesn’t even count the production time or creative content you must include. That’s nearly $50,000 per year. It’s someone’s salary. Wouldn’t it be better to spend that same money on a sponsorship and not have to worry about creation or cost?
Mailchimp monthly newsletter cost is as much as someone’s salary.

V. How Newsletters Have Worked for Brands

We know that 83% of B2B marketers use email newsletters for content marketing [Content Marketing Institute]. Let’s work through the math and show how powerful the ROI can be for sponsored Email Newsletter campaigns.

Say you spend $5,000 per month on an email newsletter sponsorship to take the place of doing it yourself. And say you have a $25 per month product you’re hoping people sign up for.

That means you need $5,000 / $25 = 200 people to sign up to break even on the cost. If a newsletter goes out to 250,000 people, that means you’re looking at 200 people sign up / 250,000 people reached = 0.0008 conversion rate.

That’s tiny.

You might be wondering what an average conversion rate for all online media buying is. The median is around 2%, per WordStream.


If you got 2% conversion from 250,000 people, that means you’re getting 5,000 people to sign up for your product. At $25 per month * 5,000 people, you’re looking at $125,000 in new revenue.

Subtracting the $5,000 cost and you just made yourself $120,000 in revenue while doing almost no work.

Obviously results will vary across newsletters, audiences, products, and services, but at a 25x ROI potential, it’s not something you can afford to ignore if you care about the success of your organization.

VI. Your Next Steps

At this point you know what you have to do. There’s not much of a choice. Let’s review the bidding:

  1. You know you need to reach customers through email because it’s the biggest audience on the planet.
  2. You know you need to do it through an interest-based Email Newsletter because they get more people to sign up and read them, even compared to social media.
  3. You need to sponsor someone’s else’s newsletter because they already have the audience (you don’t have to spend years building it yourself) and you don’t have to worry about content creation (they do that), nor the cost (they pay for the technology and distribution).

Thus, it’s faster, cheaper, and easier to partner with someone else than it is for you to do it yourself.

Did you know you can sponsor The Mission’s Newsletter?

The Mission has an email newsletter that goes out to over 223,000 subscribers. That’s thousands of real people (like you!) who are ravenously engaged in our content, and have been for years.

We only work with brands whose products we use, love and trust.

Our email newsletters live on our site forever, where we consistently rank on the 1st page of Google for a massive number of topics, interests, and keywords. We also provide you with the content that you can repurpose for your own website, blog, and social channels.

Finally, we are cheaper than you doing it yourself.

If you’re interested in harnessing the power of Email Newsletters for your own organization, get in touch with our team at The Mission.

The Mission

Sean Everett

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